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Vodka

Unquestionably a supremely popular spirit, Vodka is enjoyed around the globe thanks to its incredible versatility and, surprisingly, even its variation of flavour. Whilst typically enjoyed in the West as a means of adding spirit to mixed drinks, thanks to the superb quality and attention-to-detail found in craft Vodkas produced around the world, flavoursome premium Vodka is really burgeoning on the drinks scene.

As with anything universally popular, the origins of Vodka are hotly disputed, though most agree that its beginnings lie either in Poland or Russia. Ancient records date Vodka production in Russia centuries ago, with a number of early pharmaceutical lists referencing the “vodka of bread wine”. The earliest recorded use of the term “Vodka” was in 1405, in a set of Polish court documents in which it was placed alongside medicines and cosmetics.

In Eastern Europe and the Nordic countries, Vodka is traditionally consumed neat, differing from the Western world where it is usually mixed. The word itself derives from the Slavic “voda”, meaning water, etymologically linking the term with whisky (which comes from the Gaelic “uisge beatha”, the Scandinavian term Akvavit from the Latin “aqua vitae” and French “eau-de-vie” - all meaning water of life). It seems that a great number of spirits from around the world were once thought to be elixirs of life, containing mystical properties. Prior to the 1950s, Vodka was very rarely drunk outside of Europe, but thanks to its easily mixed flavour profile (and appearance), by 1975 sales of Vodka in America had surpassed those of bourbon.

Plain Vodka

Often fairly neutral in flavour, many commercial Vodkas can be mixed with pretty much anything. This is often due to numerous distillations and filtrations which popular vodkas (such as Smirnoff or Russian Standard) undergo, with advertising campaigns regularly flaunting a particular Vodka as being the “purest”.

Here at Master of Malt, however, we like our Vodka to be complex and bursting with flavour, and Vodka really can do both. It all begins with the base ingredient.

Poland, one of the motherlands of Vodka, tends to use either rye or potatoes. Popular rye vodkas include Belvedere or Wyborowa, and are notable for their bread-like sweetness and hints of spice. Potato vodkas on the other hand (brands such as Luksusowa, Chopin, or the English brand, Chase) tend to have a creamy, buttery, grainy character.

Scandinavian and Russian vodkas tend to be distilled from cereal grains such as wheat or barley. Sweden’s Absolut, for example, is a wheat vodka with a soft aniseed-like flavour with a little spice. For barley vodka, Finlandia, produced in Finland, offers nutty flavours and lasting spice.

For something completely different, France’s Ciroc is actually made of grapes, and is a rounded, fruity spirit.

Flavoured Vodka

Nowadays, the use of quality flavouring ingredients such as fruit and spice result in a variety of fine flavoured vodkas which allow for numerous fascinating and delicious mixed drinks.

For splendid examples of fruit-flavoured vodkas, try Davna Cherry Vodka or some of the fruity spirits in the English Vodka Company’s range.

For spicy vodka, Absolut Peppar works nicely in cocktails, or, if you’re feeling truly brave, have a sip of the exceedingly hot Naga Chilli Vodkas from The ‘Hot Enough’ Vodka Company.

Vodka

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Wyborowa Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
The popular Polish vodka, Wyborowa, is made from rye, and it is twice distilled in pot stills. The name Wyborowa is polish for "Selected", so it must be good.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$26.81
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V Gallery Marshmallow Vodka uses 5 times distilled spirit to create a pure base for the sweet, soft marshmallow flavours to excite your palate. Yum!  More info
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Mamont Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
This is the first batch of Mamont - a 5 times distilled Siberian vodka, filtered through Siberian rock. There are just 6,000 cases in the world, and the bottle is shaped to look like a mammoth's tusk.  More info
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$45.91
A superb vodka, made by Dan Aykroyd! That's right, this is the unofficial vodka of Ghostbusters! This amazing celebrity-endorsed vodka is distilled and filtered through 500 million year old crystals...  More info
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Firestarter Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Get fired up about the awesome Firestarter Vodka! It's made with supreme winter wheat from Moldova and is five times platinum filtered, giving it an extremely smooth, pure palate. The rather exciting...  More info
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$38.01
Grey Goose Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
One of the original super-premium vodkas - made in France, and without doubt one of the creamiest vodkas we've ever tasted. Great Neat from the freezer.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$54.43
Dragon. Vodka. Automatically cool.  More info
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Balkan 176° Vodka
(70cl, 88%)
The strongest vodka we have ever come across, Balkan 176 comes in a bottle with 13 different health warnings (including one in Braille), mainly because it's at 88% abv. It is produced in Serbia, and...  More info
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$64.48
Konik's Tail Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A small batch Polish vodka made with three different grains. It is complex and very well balanced. It is named for Konik, which is a primitive Polish horse. Legend has it that just a glimpse of this...  More info
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$45.49
Beautifully packaged ultra premium vodka from Poland, Wyborowa Exquisite is, in our opinion, one of the best premium vodkas from the "big boys" of vodka. Very creamy.  More info
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Kept in a bottle that looks like a prototype of the Gherkin, this Kauffman Soft Private Collection has been distilled 14 times before being filtered twice, once through birch coal and then again...  More info
$111.20
Crystal Head Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
This is one of the most brilliant things ever to be, also one of the very finest celebrity-endorsed products we've ever seen. Created for the legendary Dan Aykroyd, Crystal Head Vodka is...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$66.08
The creation of West Dorset dairy farmer Jason Barber, Black Cow claims to be the world's first pure milk vodka, made from nothing but pure whole milk. The whey is used for vodka whilst the curds go...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$43.54
"The horror! The horror!" What have we done… I'll tell you what we've done, we've created a monster. We filled a carboy with vodka, and into it we poured so many Naga Jolokia chillies that there was...  More info
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Advent calendars have always been exciting because they count down to Christmas! But why shouldn't they be exciting in their own right too? The unsatisfying lumps of chocolate found behind the windows...  More info
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We have created a monster, summoned from the very bowels of hell, formed in a vile carboy filled with a horrid mound of Naga Jolokia chillies (the world’s hottest chillies), steeped in grain vodka...  More info
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$51.76
This Russian vodka is made by Dr Kauffman (we are nearly certain it's not the same chap who's in Tomorrow Never Dies). He bottles this fine Moscow vodka by vintage, distilling each from the finest...  More info
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High strength Polish vodka from Belvedere, this is distilled from Polish rye, and it comes packaged in an extremely stylish bottle…  More info
Belvedere 1X Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Stylish and very "cool"-looking vodka from Belvedere, this is distilled with Guarana, ginger, ginseng, fruits, herbs and spices. The packaging was designed in collaboration with Andre Saraiva.  More info
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A stunning vodka distilled from wheat, East Anglian malted barley and oats. It is crafted by Fergus Fitzgerald, Adnams' master brewer, who makes a beer wash from the grains, which is fermented to...  More info
$42.19
Kulov Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
Cool off with Kulov, that's their slogan. And nothing cools us down better than a glass of vodka, apart from lemonade, mmm yummers. This is pure tasting, and it works well in cocktails.  More info
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Quite possibly the freshest tasting raspberry vodka you'll ver try. It's made with Meeker raspberries from the Frazer River valley in Washington state.  More info
$64.61

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